Today we’re giving a “sneak peek” into the upcoming beta release of Visual Studio 11 and .NET Framework 4.5. Soma has announced on his blog that the beta will be released on February 29th! We look forward to seeing what you will build with the release, and will be including a “Go Live” license with the beta, so that it can be used in production environments.

Visual Studio 11 Beta features a clean, professional developer experience. These improvements were brought about through a thoughtful reduction of the user interface, and a simplification of common developer workflows. They were also based upon insights gathered by our user experience research team. I think you will find it both easier to discover and navigate code, as well as search assets in this streamlined environment. For more information, please visit the Visual Studio team blog.

In preparation for the beta, today we’re also announcing the Visual Studio 11 Beta product lineup, which will be available for download next week. You can learn about these products on the Visual Studio product website. One new addition you will notice is Team Foundation Server Express Beta, which is free collaboration software that we’re making available for small teams. Please see Brian Harry’s blog for the complete announcement and more details on this new product.

In the Visual Studio 11 release, we’re providing a continuous flow of value, allowing teams to use agile processes, and gather feedback early and often. Storyboarding and Feedback Manager enable development teams to react rapidly to change, allowing stakeholder requirements to be captured and traced throughout the entire delivery cycle. Visual Studio 11 also introduces support for teams working together in the DevOps cycle. IntelliTrace in production allows teams to debug issues that occur on production servers, which is a key capability for software teams delivering services.

I encourage you to view the presspass story with additional footage from today’s news events, including a highlight video and product screenshots. Then stay tuned for an in-depth overview of the release with the general availability announcement on February 29th.

Enjoy!

Follow me at twitter.com/jlzander.